Erin Lyndal Martin: “Mahat-Pad Meditation,” an exercise for Bad Survivalist

Bad Survivalist: Erin Lyndal Martin

Mahat-Pad Meditation

Today we are going to do the Mahat-Pad visualization from ancient times. Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down where you can be undisturbed. As you settle in, turn your attention to your body.

Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Notice where you are holding onto tension in your body, and let the tension go.

As you breathe in, notice that you can now smell the gentle wafting of dry fur studded with mud and blood and feces. Let the fur fill your nostrils and go up your nose and into your lungs until your body is full of the scent. Imagine the aroma is pure light, and you are a prism which turns it to a rainbow.

Savor the fragrance of the dirty fur. Look around you and see you are in a clearing before a wooded area. The trees are mighty and have massive trunks, and they are spread far apart in the gently sloping land. Red leaves with gold veins have fallen in abundant swoons around the tree trunks. 

The scent of wild fur gets stronger. You can almost smell the caked mud on each filament. Your vision has never been sharper as Bigfoot comes into view. He has been trouncing through the forest beyond the clearing and is now making his way through this final copse of trees before he comes to see you.

You had expected him to make thundering sounds as he moved, but he steps lightly, making you think of an astronaut dazzled by his own buoyancy. 

Even at a distance, you can tell he has a big smile on his face, and your own lips begin to form a smile. Once again, you are full of light.

He walks upright, taking the time to press his hands against the trees. You watch him and feel that you know what the ridged bark feels like on leathery palms. Then Bigfoot leans forward and dangles his arms down, moving on all fours through a pile of leaves before shaking himself upright again. He turns his head to look right at you and grins as he shakes himself, a few damp leaves sticking to his back and derriere.

Once he has righted himself, Bigfoot continues to come toward you. He makes large strides, but you are eager for the moment, and you step forward as if you have been waiting all day at the airport to greet a long-lost friend. 

Bigfoot regards you as he come to you, and his eyes tell you that he is sorry he didn’t bring any flowers and that you really deserve flowers. Your eyes answer back that you did not come for the flowers at all, but because you and Bigfoot know each other, because his grunts are the sensitive music of your soul. He’s grunting a lot now, sometimes loud and sometimes with a nuzzling tenderness that makes you remember why you first opened your heart to him.

The light in you beams forward, and Bigfoot smiles as he takes it in.

Bigfoot stretches his arms wide once you are finally face to face, and it is only then that you realize how large he is. Even though you won’t be able to encircle him, you throw your arms around him in wordless jubilation. His grunts get louder and more satisfied as he hugs you back, his arms keeping your spine nice and straight while you stand there in the clearing. As you smile harder, your lips part and beautiful light flows between your teeth and into the bright air.

You can smell everything in his fur, all the musk and dust and campsites and trash and fleas and raindrops. Admire how strong his chest is as you rest your face against it. Feel his pounding mammal heart and his tough sinews and know he is always here for you when you need to be restored. You can always come back to this clearing, and the leaves will always be soft flames with golden hearts.

To believe in Bigfoot is to have faith that there are others like you in the world, however alone you may feel. To see Bigfoot, to hug his dirty fur, is to enjoy knowing you are not alone. Visualize him running through the trees towards you anytime you need courage to be yourself, to let your own light shine out through your very teeth.

Squeeze him tightly once more, noticing how good it feels to contain such joy and such light. It is here for you.

When you are ready, return to the present. Gently open your eyes. Wiggle your fingers and then your toes. Open and close your hands.

Stretch however it feels best to stretch. Feel the blood move in your body as you become alert and awake again. Notice that you still remember how it feels to be full of light.

Once you are fully awake, you may resume your usual day, but feeling more confident and joyful.


Erin Lyndal Martin is a creative writer, music journalist, and visual artist currently based in Blacksburg, VA. Her work can be found at She’s on Twitter at @erinlyndal.


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